From the introduction:
A Light Entertainment for Six to Twelve Gay Couples
Originally Written and Produced in 1903 - Revised for Presentation at Intercon C
In 1903 the first LARP ever - “An Evening With Clarence, an Entertainment for Six to Twelve Gay Couples” - premiered at the Cleveland Hotel in Baltimore, Maryland. If you’ve heard of Clarence at all, of course, you haven’t heard of this game. You’ve heard of the popular 1919 and 1928 Mikhail Jung production, which continued to be produced well into the 1950s. Unfortunately, everything you remember is probably wrong, since Jung fundamentally rewrote the entire game, making it playable in the meantime. In many ways, “Clarence” is a testament to the stoicism, and determination of early LARPers, who faced with a game that was more or less an imbecilic mishmash of mismatched parts, nevertheless forged ahead and made a LARP out of it. It is also a testament to the fact that, before the days of Radio, people had a good bit of time on their hands. What to Expect: At the time it was a brilliant entertainment. A hundred years and three major revisions later, it is a hopelessly dated and unplayable nightmare. “Clarence” is a LARP for by and about LARPers.
If you enjoy the interplay of player and GM, the folly of bad rules, weddings, time travellers, vampires, and other canned plots - in short pastiche of everything LARPish, this is the game for you. If you’ve played some of the “classic” LARPs so many times that you know each character by heart, this is the game for you.
“Clarence” is not a freewheeling anti-game in the style of “Hose-a-Rama” or “Flog-a-Thon,” but rather an elaborate pastiche, requiring players to engage in a lively amount of cooperative metagaming in order to maintain conflicts and tension, while attempting to play the game. It is intended to be amusing and light, not a mechanics heavy “salvage the game” scenario.
Clarence is a highly iconoclastic game. If you don’t feel you would enjoy the game, you will have little luck in pushing it into a different paradigm. Our advice is to seek one of the many other excellent games available.
The game revolves around a series of “scenes” which form its structure. The scenes always existed and they were always played. There will be Gamemasters (who rather tackily also play characters) to drive you from scene to scene, but it is hoped that you will be somewhat willing to help in this process.